Bible Studies

The Truth Shall Set You Free - Part 1Premium Content

My name is Michael the Penguin and I am a Christian in recovery.

I would like to think out loud with the rest of you for a while. One of my favorite verses in Scripture is John 8:32: You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. It seems, at first, to be a "no-brainer" in terms of interpretation:
(1) It is Jesus talking;
(2) He is the truth; and
(3) we can find freedom in life through Him.

The application to anyone in recovery is also obvious: in recovery we want to be free of our addictions, but we know we need to find a deeper freedom in order to achieve that. It is one thing to stop drinking, drugging, etc., but it is another thing to remain free and also have a life centered in God. The Steps are the tried and true way of helping any of us to find the freedom to be the person God wants us to be. For us as Christians, Scripture is a big part of those Steps. To me, Scripture is just about the one tried and true source of revelation from God. I can state categorically that Scripture is why I have remained sober for 12 years: the study, absorption and application of God's truths for me.

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Accepting God’s Discipline Takes Great FaithPremium Content

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Romans 6:6-7

The saying, "you can't have your cake and eat it too is an old saying but very true."

On the same token, spiritually we can say, "You cannot live in the kingdom of heaven and continue to be a slave to your desires or "serve sin" as apostle Paul puts it.

We have to run the race marked out for us and it is not ALWAYS going to be easy. Apostle Paul even says we must keep our focus on Jesus Christ at all times.

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True Peace Beyond What We Know and How We Can Have It DailyPremium Content

We all have struggles in our lives that make us wonder if things will ever get better. Sometimes we get so stressed out about things that we feel like pulling our hair out.

And then there are everyday stressors that we all face, causing some upset in our lives. Getting to work on time, getting that essay done for our term paper, making all the appointments with work, the school your children are in, getting supper ready and getting the children to bed BEFORE you can actually sit down and go PHEW!!!

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What is Hope? Why Do We Need it? Premium Content

We often hear people say, "I hope that... " Sometimes it is a sincere hope, like the hope that the money to pay for the mortgage comes in on time so your cheque does not bounce. Sometimes it is the hope of somebody you love getting better and not passing on. Other times it is futile things that don't really matter like, hoping that your next door neighbour invites you to his party or that the bridge isn't too crowded so you have to wait a simple 5 minutes. There is a true hope and there is a futile hope that really isn't a hope at all, just a desire for instant or even delayed gratification.

The Bible is loaded with examples of the word hope. There are many different meanings for the word hope. As a noun, hope can mean the following: achievement, ambition, anticipation, aspiration, assumption, belief, desire, expectancy, expectation and faith. And as a verb, hope can mean: anticipate, aspire, assume, await, believe, cherish, contemplate, count on, expect, have faith, hold, long for, pray, have faith, hold, and long for.

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God's Focus is On YouPremium Content

Psalm 89:5 NRSV
Let the heavens praise Your wonders, O Lord, Your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.

I work in a very small, rural community. Often, when my husband and I go to the grocery store, we see students from one of the two school in which we work. The younger students are often amazed that we are there, as if they believe (which I think some do) that we should live our lives only and always at school. That's where they know us; that's where we belong. In their eyes, we are simply teachers with no other roles (such as spouse, parent, or friend) and teachers belong at school. I've even had very young ones run to the nearest aisle and peer out at me, wonderingly, afraid to talk to me outside of my "regular" sphere of influence.

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We need boundaries! We need fences!Premium Content

1 Peter 1:13-16 NRSV Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when He is revealed. Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as He who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

We have dogs. Currently, we have one dog, but often we have more than one. People know that we rescue poodles, and we are often called to see if we will give a poodle a home. In the past two years, the "yard" that our dogs have enjoyed has changed considerably. First, it was the portable yard that we use for our RV. We bought two units and attached them together, so it was about 6x4 feet. Not very big, but for small dogs, large enough to walk around. Last year, when we moved into the trailer, the yard was considerably larger. There was room to run and play a bit, certainly lots of room to nose around and smell (which the dogs loved to do). In this house, the yard is huge in comparison to anything we've had previously. It's a big lot and the back yard goes from edge to edge. It's possible not to be able to see our little poodle just looking out the back door; the yard is that big.

One thing every yard had in common was some kind of a fence. The fence is both a protection from at least some of the predators getting in (though there are still those, like snakes, that can get in under the fence) and a protection from the dogs getting out of the yard and being at risk of being hit by cars or stolen by thieves.

The fence is a protection.

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Do You Know You are Chosen and What it Means?

Psalm 89:3a (NRSV) "I have made a covenant with my chosen one."

There is amazing power in this statement for three reasons. The first is that we -- as God's adopted children -- were chosen by Him! Isn't that wonderful? It's beyond comprehension for me that, at the beginning of creation, even before time began, God looked down at all the souls and chose me! (He chose every person who would respond to His love and His call to salvation). Paul writes:

Just as He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him in love. He destined us for adoption as His children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:4-6 NRSV

I'm adopted. My birth mom, as I understand it, was an unwed pregnant teen and, with an amazing amount of courage, understood that she was ill prepared to care for a baby. So, my parents who couldn't have children, chose to adopt me. They didn't have to. They could have even come to the hospital, viewed my bald head and tiny feet, and rejected me. But they didn't. Instead, my parents chose me and gave me a wonderful home and childhood.

God's Will for Us

God's Will is for us to:

    1) read His Word,
    2) Consume His Word,
    3) Participate In Communion,
    4) Worship Him,
    5) Pray Daily,
    6) Share the Gospel With Those Who Have Not Yet Heard,
    7) Care for the sick and elderly,
    8) Exemplify Jesus in our life,
    9) Do everything we do as if we were doing for God alone,
    10) Obey the laws of our land,
    11) Meet with other believers on a regular basis,
    12) Prepare for the return of the Lord Jesus,
    13) Love our friends AND
    14) our enemies,
    15) Love God with your heart, soul, mind and spirit,
    16) Follow the golden rule and likely many more things I cannot alone think of.

Do You Know the Meaning of "God's Steadfast Love?"

Psalm 89:1-2 (NRSV)
I will sing of Your steadfast love, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim Your faithfulness to all generations. I declare that Your steadfast love is established forever; Your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

There is a great deal wrong with our society and within each person (since social ills begin within the individual heart). As a believer who lives in an extremely secular (and sinful) society (California), I could spend my days focused upon how much is wrong with all around me, bemoaning my fate and wondering what shoe will fall next. Or, I can choose with the psalmist to focus instead upon the Creator and Master of all, trusting that God is going to work out and win out in the long haul.

Father God's love is steadfast. The Hebrew word checed translated thus is interesting. Vine's expounded on its meaning:

    "In general, one may identify three basic meanings of the word, which always interact: 'strength,' 'steadfastness,' and 'love.' Any understanding of the word that fails to suggest all three inevitably loses some of its richness. 'Love' by itself easily becomes sentimentalized or universalized apart from the covenant. Yet 'strength' or 'steadfastness' suggests only the fulfillment of a legal or other obligation.

Why is Faith Important?Premium Content

Faith

    1. DEFINITION: Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
    2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief. See Synonyms at trust.
    3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
    4. often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
    5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
    6. A set of principles or beliefs.

Why is faith so important? Some leaders of the Christian life say that faith is the foundation of our beliefs and life.

Faith has the power to heal us when we ask Jesus and trust Him.

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